Part 1 of this post looked at possible goalkeeper and defender transfers for the Arsenal. This part will deal with the marquee players, the midfielders and attackers, the guys who sell the jerseys and who everyone loves to see. As referenced in Part 1 here, this so-called influx of cash should be treated with caution. Arsenal has always been very careful in buying and the fact that Ivan Gazidis says the club has record amounts to spend should be treated as just talk until we actually see something materialize, it is not the first time we’ve heard that Arsenal has money to burn. Arsenal transfers are a thing of mystery.
As far as targets go, Arsenal has already brought in the underrated Yaya Sanogo, a lanky and skillful player (think a healthy Abou Diaby only reincarnated as a forward) from AJ Auxerre. And we can discount Gonzalo Higuain who has signed with SSC Napoli after playing the waiting game with Real Madrid and Arsenal. Similarly David Villa slunk off to Atletico Madrid after Arsenal didn’t chase him in the summer. Stevan Jovetic also joined Man City in another waiting game move. As mentioned last time around, with Arsene Wenger, the popularly linked players are many times ignored by him. If Arsenal goes into the season without buying a big-name forward, do not be surprised! The transfer policy at the Arsenal is weird to say the least.
The wage bill has been freed up as a number of names have been successfully flung off by Arsenal, there are still a few who fans would love to see leave though. Nicklas Bendtner seems to be playing Winston Bogarde card or lately the Andrei Arshavin card where he is content to NOT play or sign for anyone else as long as he keeps earning fat wages from the Gunners. A similar story lies with Marouane Chamakh. For years the contention was Arsenal didn’t spend money…that was not quite true, the Gunners did spend, the money was just spent on sub par players either in wages or lower transfer fees plus heavy wages. No one else would have given Chamakh or Bendtner the amounts we gave them and that’s partly why getting rid of them is so hard. Gervinho is another player the fans seem to have a love-hate relationship with, I think he should stay though. He gives the team an unpredictability which no other player has. He is fast and dribbles very well, he just has a penchant for shooting when he should pass, and passing when he should shoot…but apart from that, he’s perfect (tongue in cheek). I’d keep the Ivorian one more season though Roma are rumored to want him, the only way I’d let him go would be if I had a better replacement waiting in the wings for cheaper (Hint hint – Serge Gnabry).
Here’s a list of players we’ve been linked with lately and what I think the chances are that we actually get them.
Midfielders: (Arsenal’s lineup currently has Rosicky, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Cazorla, Diaby, Frimpong, Miyaichi, and the fringe reserve/youth players like Serge Gnabry, Yennaris, Thomas Eisfeld, and Gedion Zelalem)
Player AFC should have got: Lars Bender – Excellent player in midfield, smart and hard in the tackle. Price is a hindrance but he’s probably worth it.
Marouane Fellaini – The tall Belgian is excellent but he’d have to be a direct replacement for diaby and Arsenal arguably has more pressing needs in midfield (a battling midfielder for instance). Could happen.
Lars Bender – Excellent battler, strong and smart but Leverkusen don’t want to sell. Will Arsene be willing to pay premium amounts for him? History suggests otherwise. Unlikely.
Etienne Capoue – Could happen. He’s been linked with AFC for a while now. He’s an uncompromising tackler and has excellent ball winning ability, he’d come cheaper than some others on this list. Will he fit in though? May happen.
Sebastian Rode – Reports say Arsenal have been scouting in Germany. Rode is young and a good enforcer. Unlikely
Luiz Gustavo – Reportedly unwanted by Pep Guardiola, he’s a fair player. He could be the new Gilberto Silva. Could happen.
Geoffrey Kondogbia – A man in high demand. He is a wicked enforcer but he’s best when paired with a similarly imposing enforcer, think of him being paired with Fellaini. He has great potential. May happen.
Matthias Ginter – Good chance – AFC loaned Coquelin to his club so why not? Ginter is a libero…good in midfield or defence, excellent reader from the back, combative. Could happen!
Francesc Fabregas – Simply no. Gunners know him and what he’s worth but firstly, he’s happy in spain despite reports. Secondly, he’d stifle the growth of young men like Wilshere and Zelalem. Could happen but why?
Attackers: (The Gunners have quite a few…Podolski, Giroud, Walcott, Sanogo, Gervinho, Bendtner/Park/Chamakh)
Player AFC should have got – Stevan Jovetic. Extremely skillful but with his injury issues he was a slight risk. Arsene Wenger could have worked magic with the Montenegro international.
Christian Benteke – Strong, imposing, and has EPL experience but there’s no amount of money Villa would accept for him. And whatever amount it’d take to get him would be obscene and not something Arsenal would offer. Forget it.
Stefan El Shaarawy – Unlikely. It’s a joke that he’s linked with Arsenal at all. Why would AC Milan give up a prized possession of his age and gifts?
Wayne Rooney – Could happen. What does he have left in the tank? He’d make a good story for the Arsenal British project but it’d take some convincing to make United repay Arsenal in similar coins to the way MUFC took RVP.
Roberto Soldado – Some of these rumors are from out of left field. Why would Arsenal sign a player who’s so similar to Olivier Giroud? Unlikely.
Nani – Great player on his day, has a tendency to switch off too often. Won’t win Arsenal the EPL, forget about him. Unlikely.
Bernard – Tiny, pocket rocket player. Great dribbler, good movement but is he ready for the physicality of the EPL, I doubt that. Could happen.